Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust

by Allysa Torey from More from Magnolia
Page 74
(Simon & Schuster, 2004)
Makes one 10-inch cheesecake

This cheesecake has been a huge success at the bakery since its introduction. It is a lovely dessert for an autumn dinner party. I love to make cheesecakes when I’m entertaining because they can be made one to two days in advance, before guests even arrive.—Allysa Torey

Modifications I made. Unless noted, all extracts are Watkin’s brand.
1. Used a teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice & a half teaspoon of cinnamon. For a less spicy flavor, omit half teaspoon cinnamon.
2. Add a teaspoon of Vanilla Nut & a half teaspoon of Maple.
3. In the sweet vanilla whipped cream, I substituted vanilla extract with Vanilla Nut.

Don't have Pumpkin Pie Spice? Make your own using the instructions below.

For the crust:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (see note)

For the filling:
3/4 pound cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin purée
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the sweet vanilla whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sweet Vanilla Whipped Cream
Toasted pecan halves

Make the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

2. In a small bowl, combine the butter with the gingersnap cookie crumbs and pecans. Press into the bottom of a buttered 10-inch springform pan.

3. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Make the filling:
1. In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Gradually add the sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the pumpkin purée and mix until just blended. To ensure that the batter has no lumps and that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer several times and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Stir in the heavy cream and cinnamon.

2. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until the edges are set and the center moves only slightly when the pan is shaken, about 1 hour.

3. At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat and, using a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar, cool the cake in the oven for 1 hour before removing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Make the vanilla whipped cream:
1. Place all the ingredients in a medium-size bowl and whip with an eggbeater or a whisk until soft peaks form. Serve immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

To serve
1. Remove the cake from the refrigerator 15-30 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with the sweetened whipped cream and toasted pecan halves.

Note: To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice. Can be used in pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, cakes, cookies and custard.
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves